The Virtualization Practice

Virtualization Security

Virtualization Security focuses upon end-to-end security, integrity, auditability, and regulatory compliance for virtualization and clouds. Virtualization Security starts where the cloud and virtual environments begin: the end user computing device. ...
We follow the user through the virtual and cloud stacks until they reach the application the user wishes to use to retrieve the data that is important to them. Virtualization and cloud security is implemented where there is an intersection between user, data, and application while maintain strict control of management interfaces. As such virtualization security looks into all aspects of security devices, tools, controls, and guides that impact or can be used to secure virtual and cloud environments.

Security baselines and security health checks are an important part of any modern day infrastructure. These checks are done periodically throughout the year, usually ever quarter. In my opinion this is a good thing to check and make sure your security settings are following the guidelines that the company has set out to achieve. Here is where I do have a problem. When setting up the guidelines for the different technologies in your infrastructure it would make the most sense that the people establishing the guidelines need to fully understand the technology they are working with. After all, would you really want the midrange or mainframe group to write the policies and guidelines for the Microsoft Windows Servers in your environment?

The most recent Virtualization Security Podcast was on the subject of virtualization security for the SMB. Specifically cover the case where the customer wanting virtualization security could afford to purchase a hypervisor and perhaps one other security product. In the end the panelists came up with a list of suggestions for virtualization security for the SMB that are applicable to all levels of Virtualization. The panel looked at SMB security with an eye towards Availability, Integrity, and Confidentiality.

While at RSA Conference I visited the RSA Innovation Sandbox and noticed that three out of ten virtualization security vendors were finalists:

* Altor Networks
* Catbird Security
* HyTrust

Alto Networks won the Innovation Sandbox contest and all that goes with it. Congratulations to them, but Altor’s win is actually a win for all virtualization security players. It shows that virtualization security is extremely important to the data center as well as moving forward to the cloud.

The Cisco-VMware-NetApp (CVN) was discussed on the Virtualization Security Podcast as it pertains to Secure Multi-Tenancy (SMT). This is a major concern that was also discussed at RSA Conference 2010 within the Cloud Security Alliance Summit. The question still remains how to achieve this goal however. CVN is a very good start, but as we discussed on the podcast is missing some key elements.

HyTrust has announced Series B Financing in the amount of $10.5 Million with participation from Cisco, Granite Ventures as well as existing investors Trident Capital and Epic Ventures. This is very good news for HyTrust. While the Series B Funding was not much of a surprise given that HyTrust fits into the Virtualizaiton Security within its own niche. What is surprising is that Cisco is one of the backers of this innovative product.

When I first interviewed Reflex System’s CEO he had a desire for the vTrustTM VMsafe-Net driver be the defacto standard for all such VMsafe-Net drivers. While others may not agree with this desire and will create their own VMsafe-Net drivers, TippingPoint is the first to integrate into Reflex’s VMC product to leverage the vTrust VMsafe-Net Driver and puts Reflex System’s on the second step of the path for vTrustTM to be the defacto standard. At the same time TippingPoint adds an Intrusion Protection System to the Reflex System VMC family of products with Tipping Point vController.

Rethinking vNetwork Security

Brad Hedlund of Cisco asked the question, should the physical network security policy be different than the virtual network security policy? The answer is obviously no, but why are they treated separately? I and other have pushed the concept that to gain performance, redundancy, and security that you should use multiple network links to your virtualization host to separate traffic. However, does this really give you security?